Road safety campaigners are calling for a moratorium on the installation of a new generation of car dashboard entertainment systems which offer drivers access to a wealth of apps such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook whilst on the move via a 7inch touchscreen display.
Ford and Nissan are to release a new generation of vehicles next year which will allow drivers to connect their smartphones to touchscreen displays but campaigners warn that this will cause road fatalities to ‘soar’.
Of concern is the distracting nature of pings and alerts from social media updates and phones, all of which have the potential to take drivers eyes off the road with potentially fatal consequences.
Gary Rae, of the road safety charity Brake, commented: “Sadly the marketing people and not the safety people are in the driving seat with this technology. It is quite clear that transferring apps from smartphones to the dashboard is an enormous distraction and could lead to casualties and deaths on our roads.
“The government must look into these screens and test them in controlled live experiments so we can see how they are really used. If they prove to be dangerous then restrictions should be placed on them.”
Car makers dismiss such fears, stating that the apps are designed to be operated remotely by voice or through the steering wheel, eliminating the need for drivers to look at the screen directly.
Fiat, Toyota and Honda already offer entertainment systems which allow occupants to check social media on the road.
It comes after UK publishers the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror both launched campaigns to out drivers texting while driving.